Five things on PSG Handball - Kielce
After their victory in Chartres (29-39), Paris Saint-Germain Handball move onto the second hurdle of their four-match week. This time, it's the rescheduled EHF Champions League Matchday 9 clash with Polish giants Kielce at the Stade Pierre de Coubertin.
Top spot in their sights
A few days before the end of the group stage, Kielce are in a very favourable position to finish at the top of Group A. The Poles currently hit atop the standings, with 17 points from 11 matches. However, they could be overtaken by Flensburg, who have played two games fewer and are only two points behind - but Les Rouge et Bleu aren't far off the pace! Despite a troubled start, the capital club could get to within one point of their direct opponents if they win on Tuesday night and also claim victory in their postponed matches.
The should be no shortage of goals at Coubertin on Tuesday! Indeed, there will be a a shoot-out between the two top scorers of the competition. Currently, Kielce's Spanish right-back Alex Dujshebaev sits atop the standings with 61 goals in 11 appearances. On two occasions (against Porto and at Vardar Skopje), he managed to reach the ten-goal mark in one match. On the Parisian side, Mikkel Hansen is the danger man. The Danish international has 59 goals - despite having only played eight European matches this season. It would be no surprise to see him end the match in first place!
These two formations are used to confronting each other in crucial moments of the competition. This is the seventh time they will face off in the Champions League. In their very first duel, Paris and Kielce met in the Lanxess Arena in Cologne, in the semi-final in 2016 (won by the Poles 28-26). The overall head-to-head record is perfectly balanced for the moment, as both teams have three wins and three defeats. One remembers in particular the quarter-final of 2019: after having been severely beaten in the first leg (34-24), Les Rouge et Bleu almost caused a sensation by turning things around, but ended up narrowly losing the double-header (35-26).
A look back at the first match
The first leg also lived up to its promise. Deprived of the Karabatic brothers, among others, Paris nonetheless turned in a strong performance. They got off to the better start (11': 7-10), but the match became more balanced as the minutes ticked by. The locals had the upper hand as the final minutes approached (42': 28-24), but were themselves caught in turn. Finally, the last seconds went they way of Kielce, who won by the skin of their teeth (35-33) despite a ten-goal haul from Mikky. Paris Saint-Germain Handball's main bugbear on the night was Igor Karacic, who managed to score 13 times from his 15 attempts. The return leg promises to be just as exciting!
To follow the game (kick-off at 18:45):
• Television: Eurosport Player
• Live tweet : our official page
(Credits: J. Azouze/PSG)